Colon cancer affects the large intestines which include the colon located at the lower portion of the digestive system. It usually starts as benign or as a non-cancerous cell mass also known as adenomatous polyp but eventually develops into cancer. Polyps are small and do not manifest any symptoms from outside our body. This is the reason why it is important that these polyps are discovered earlier before they develop into cancer cells.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs which tell that you may have developed colon cancer are rectal bleeding or blood in stool, a change in bowel habits including that of experiencing diarrhea or constipation or a change in stool consistency, weakness or fatigue, repeating abdominal discomfort such as cramps, gas or pain, and unexplained weight loss.
A feeling that your bowel seemed not being completely discharged from your body may also be a sign of having colon cancer. The early stages of the disease do not manifest these symptoms.So it is very important to see your doctor even with just a small indication of any of the symptoms.
The exaggerated growth or division of cells which causes precancerous cells in the lining of your intestines is the condition right before developing the cancer. However, the precancerous or abnormal cells develop into cancerous cells over a long period of time. The growths are either flat or recess form areas in the colon wall.
Removing polyps at this stage or before cancerous cells develop can prevent colon cancer. People with this type of cancer may pass the condition to immediate family members due to inherited gene mutations which increase the risk of cancer.
People who regularly smoke and drink alcohol have a high risk of developing the disease.
Records show that about 90 percent of people with colon cancer are older than 50. It is diagnosed at a very small number in younger individuals.
A diet low in fiber and high in fat and calories may likely increase the risks of rectal cancer. People who eat a lot of red meat have a higher risk.
Lack of exercise can also make it easier for you to develop cancer combined with unhealthy eating habits. Regular physical activity can reduce your risk.
Detecting colon cancer
Colon cancer can be diagnosed through blood tests, colonoscopy, and the use of die and X-rays to get a picture of your colon.
The use of multiple CT images can also create an image of your colon.
Other tests may be performed to know the stage or extent of your cancer.
Early stages may be cured through surgery to remove the small polyps during a colonoscopy. Colonoscopy may cut advanced cancer risk by 70%.
A partial colectomy can also be performed to remove part of your colon with cancer.
Surgery for advanced colon cancer relieves the blockage in your colon just to improve your symptoms.
Chemotherapy may be done before and after the surgery.
Colon cancer can be prevented by having a high-fiber diet and a change in lifestyle. Smoking and alcohol consumption must also be reduced to a limit or totally eliminated. A healthy weight and exercise routine will also be most helpful.
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